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North Dallas Forty

Promotional poster for North Dallas Forty
Directed by Ted Kotcheff
Produced by Frank Yablans
Written by Peter Gent,
Ted Kotcheff,
Frank Yablans
Nancy Dowd (uncredited)
Starring Nick Nolte,
Mac Davis,
Charles Durning,
Dayle Haddon,
Bo Svenson,
John Matuszak,
Steve Forrest,
G. D. Spradlin,
Dabney Coleman,
Savannah Smith Boucher
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) August 3, 1979 ( United States)
Running time 119 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget unknown

North Dallas Forty is a 1979 dramatic film written by Peter Gent and starring Nick Nolte, Mac Davis, and G. D. Spradlin.


The film's setting is a 1970s era professional football team based in Dallas, Texas named the North Dallas Bulls[1], which closely resembles the Dallas Cowboys. Nolte plays the aging wide receiver, Phillip Elliott, who is struggling to stay competitive and relies heavily on the use of painkillers. Backed up by quarterback Seth Maxwell, played by Davis, both players give insight into the drug, sex, and alcohol-fueled party atmosphere of teams of this era, all under the watchful eye of iconic coach B. A. Quinlan, played by G.D. Spradlin.

Through its use of drama, comedy, and satire, many consider North Dallas Forty a classic sports film, giving insights into the lives of professional athletes.[2]

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Peter Gent, a former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver in the late 1960s, the film's characters closely resemble real-life team members of the era, with Seth Maxwell often compared to quarterback Don Meredith, Quinlan to Tom Landry, and Elliott to Peter Gent himself. Upon hearing/reading/seeing the book or movie, Don Meredith came out with another of his classic lines: "If I'd known Gent was as good as he says he was, I would have thrown to him more."


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